Investigating lexical competition and the cost of phonemic restoration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Due to phonemic restoration, listeners can reliably perceive words when a phoneme is replaced with noise. The cost associated with this process was investigated along with the effect of lexical uniqueness on phonemic restoration, using data from a lexical decision experiment where noise replaced phonemes that were either uniqueness points (the phoneme at which a word deviates from all nonrelated words that share the same onset) or phonemes immediately prior to these. A baseline condition was also included with no noise-interrupted stimuli. Results showed a significant cost of phonemic restoration, with 100 ms longer word identification times and a 14% decrease in word identification accuracy for interrupted stimuli compared to the baseline. Regression analysis of response times from the interrupted conditions showed no effect of whether the interrupted phoneme was a uniqueness point, but significant effects for several temporal attributes of the stimuli, including the duration and position of the interrupted segment. These results indicate that uniqueness points are not distinct breakpoints in the cohort reduction that occurs during lexical processing, but that temporal properties of the interrupted stimuli are central to auditory word recognition. These results are interpreted in the context of models of speech perception.


  • Laura Balling
  • David Morris
  • John Toendering
External organisations
  • University of Copenhagen
  • Copenhagen Business School
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3603–3612
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch